Exploring the Feasibility of Subliminal Priming on Smartphones

Charlie Pinder, Jo Vermeulen, Benjamin R. Cowan, Russell Beale and Robert Hendley.

Presented by: Charlie Pinder

In Proceedings of MobileHCI 2017: the 19th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, Vienna, Austria, September 47, 2017, 15 pages.
[20% acceptance; 224 submissions]


Subliminal priming has the potential to influence people's attitudes and behaviour. Yet little research has explored its feasibility on smartphones. This paper addresses technical, ethical and design issues in delivering subliminal priming. We present three explorations of the technique: a technical feasibility study, and two participant studies. A pilot study (n=34) explored subliminal goal priming in-the-wild over 1 week, while a semi-controlled study (n=101) explored the immediate effect of subliminal priming on 3 different types of stimuli. We found that although subliminal priming is technically possible on smartphones, there is limited evidence of impact, with inconsistent effects across stimuli types. We discuss the implications of our results and directions for future research.


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